T&G Global, New Zealand's largest fresh produce exporter, has joined an alliance of organizations to commercialize new apple and pear cultivars being developed specifically to tackle issues associated with a warming global climate.
The company joins New Zealand's Plant & Food Research and Spain's Institute of Agriculture and Food Research Technology (IRTA) and Fruit Futur to take varieties that come out of the Hot Climate Programme (HCP) to markets around the world.
The HCP was initiated in 2002 by Plant & Food Research and IRTA to address challenges that were being experienced by Spanish apple and pear growers, such as sunburn, and poor color and firmness.
An agreement between T&G Global and the other entities was signed on Wednesday, Feb. 6 during the Fruit Logistica trade fair taking place in Berlin.
Plant & Food Research said New Zealand growers have been challenged in hot seasons with increased sunburn, low color, compromised fruit textures and higher incidence of storage disorders.
It added that other pome fruit-growing regions around the world would begin to also experience these issues as the global climate changes, and so varieties developed for these niche environments would be in increasing demand worldwide.
Several new varieties have been identified in the HCP with the potential to be released and the program partners – including grower group Fruit Futur, which began investing in the programme in 2003 – have selected T&G Global to commercialize the varieties.
T&G Global has had success in bringing world-leading varieties to international markets including award-winning JAZZ and Envy apples across Europe, the U.S. and Asia.
“As climate changes, growers worldwide face a huge challenge from sunburn and colour-development issues with their fruit, to increased pests and diseases which can influence fruit in the orchard and post-harvest,” says Sarah McCormack, Director of Category- Apples, from T&G Global.
“These hot climate-tolerant new varieties from the programme will ensure that consumers can continue to enjoy crisp, tasty apples and pears in the future, by providing growers with varieties primed for production in this changing environment.
“We have a long history with Plant & Food Research and a proven track record in bringing premium apple brands to the world,” she says, “Our exclusive varieties JAZZ™ and Envy™ apples are sold in 60 countries and have notched up multiple awards in several continents for quality and taste.
“We know that whatever the weather throws at us, we will be able to bring several outstanding new apple varieties to market and grow fruit in regions that we wouldn’t have usually considered as suitable for growing apples and pears.”